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Catholic Recipe: Old-Fashioned Cherry Tart


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • grated lemon rind
  • salt Filling:
  • 2 pounds sweet dark cherries, washed and pitted
  • half a glass of white wine
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 egg whites, whisked stiff
  • rosolio liqueur (See Recipe)
  • Details

  • Yield: 1 9-inch tart
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin: Rome, Italy

Here's a traditional cherry tart, Roman style. Because of the legend of Pope Gregory the Great and his longing for cherries on St. Mark's feast day (April 25), it would be appropriate to serve cherry pie on either of these dates.


Place the cherries in a saucepan and add the wine, cinnamon and sugar. Cook 6-7 minutes until they have reduced a little and the liquid has evaporated, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and put to one side.

For the pastry, head the flour onto a rolling board, make a well and place inside it the butter, sugar, egg lemon rind and salt. Knead energetically, and then leave to rest in a cool place for at least 15 minutes. Roll out the pastry into a sheet — not too thin — and line an 8-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and then fill with the cherry filling.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar and vanilla until the mixture is light and frothy, then add the flour, butter and, last of all, the egg whites. Pour this mixture over the cherries. Bake in a fairly hot oven (400°F) for 25 minutes or so. When ready, remove the pan sides and slide the tart out onto a circular dish. Leave to cool before serving, then sprinkle with rosolio liqueur.

Recipe Source: Buon Appetito, Your Holiness: The Secrets of the Papal Table by Mariangela Rinaldi and Mariangela Vicini, Arcade Publishing, New York, 2000
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